Dr. Joost Woltering
Department of Biology
Building M, Room M807
University of Konstanz
Tel: +49 (0) 7531 882763
The main focus of research lies on the evolution of the fish body plan. Teleosts have evolved an uprecedented variety of bodyforms, potentially related to their additional genome duplication, and so far many ´evo-devo´ aspects of fish skeletal evolution remain largely unexplored. Part of the work involves the role of the Hox genes, whose function is instrumental in the development and evolution of the tetrapod body plan. Experimental data regarding the actual function of these genes during teleost embryonic development are largely lacking and it is unknown whether they contribute similarly to the evolution of body form in fishes. Specifc questions being addressed are shape, positioning and embryonic origins of fins and the evolution of other components with dermal skeletal contribution. As a model system we are using zebrafish for standard transgenic and genome editing approaches. Simultaneously we are looking at the same developmental mechanisms in various non-model fish species with derived body plans such as sea-horse, pipefish and needlefish (in collaboration with Ralf Schneider). Further research questions relate to the loss of dermal contribution to the fin/limb skeleton in tetrapods and the classical problem of the fin to limb transition.
Research experience and academic education
- 2014 – present: Assistant professor Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Germany.
- 2007 – 2014: Postdoc University of Geneva, Switzerland.
- 2002 – 2007: PhD student at Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands (PhD 2007) and Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht, Netherlands.
- 2000 – 2001: lab rotation at the Gurdon Institute, Cambridge, UK.
- 1994 – 2002: Biology at the State University Groningen, the Netherlands.
- PhD Leiden University, the Netherlands 2007, cum laude (i.e. highest possible honors under the dutch PhD system).
- M.Sc. University of Groningen, the Netherlands, 2006.
Selected conference contributions
- Upstream and downstream of Hox genes. EMBO workshop. 14-17 December 2014. Hyderabad. India.
- HOX and TALE transcription factors in Development and Disease meeting. 2- 4 October 2013. Conservation and divergence of regulatory strategies and the origin of tetrapod digits.
- Fourth meeting of the European Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology (EED), July 2012, Lisbon, Portugal. Analysis of differences in Hox gene regulation between mouse and teleost fishes with respect to the fin-limb transition.
- Emerging roles of microRNAs in development and disease workshop. University of Andalucia. November 2008, Baeza, Spain. Role of microRNA10 in zebrafish embryogenesis.
- Fifth Annual Meeting Cells into Organs, Woudschoten, The Netherlands, april, 2008. Convergent shifts in axial patterning in snake and caecilian embryos.
- 14th Benelux Congress of Zoology, Amsterdam (The Netherlands) 2007. Convergent shifts in axial patterning in snake and caecilian embryos.
- The miR-10 microRNA and the Zebrafish hox clusters. 14th Benelux Congress of Zoology, Amsterdam (The Netherlands) 2007.
- Lorenz symposium; Axial patterning symposium 2007, Leiden. The miR-10 microRNA and the Zebrafish hox clusters.
- Fourth annual Cells into organs meeting, Isle de Embiez, France, Mai 2007. The miR- 10 microRNA and the Zebrafish hox clusters.
- IBL symposium: Natural variation in a post-genomic context, November 16th 2006, Leiden, received the IBL PhD-award. The miR-10 microRNA and the Zebrafish hox clusters.
- The miR-10 microRNA and the Zebrafish hox clusters. "De Snoo-van ‘t Hoogerhuijs" symposium on Early Development, 4th World Congress on Developmental Origins of Health & Disease, September 13th 2006, Utrecht.
Honors and awards
- June 2008, EMBO long term fellowship.
- December 2006, Leiden University, Institute of Biology title ‘Researcher of the year’ including nomination for the Leiden University Faculty of Science award.
- November 2006, Leiden University, Institute of Biology PhD-award.
(* equally contributing authors)
- Beccari L*, Yakushiji-Kaminatsui N*, Woltering JM*, Necsulea A, Lonfat N, Rodríguez-Carballo E, Mascrez B, Yamamoto S, Kuroiwa A, Duboule D. A role for HOX13 proteins in the regulatory switch between TADs at the HoxD locus. (2016) Genes Dev. 30:1172-86. doi: 10.1101/gad.281055.116.
- Woltering JM, Duboule D. Tetrapod axial evolution and developmental constraints; Empirical underpinning by a mouse model. Mech Dev. (2015) 138 Pt 2:64-72. doi: 10.1016/j.mod.2015.07.006.
- Woltering JM, Meyer A. The phantoms of a high-seven - or why do our thumbs stick out? Front Zool. (2015) 12:23. doi: 10.1186/s12983-015-0117-x.
- Woltering JM, Noordermeer D, Leleu M, Duboule D. Conservation and divergence of regulatory strategies at Hox loci and the origin of tetrapod digits. (2014) PLoS Biology. 12: e1001773. pdf
- Guerreiro I*, Nunes A*, Woltering JM, Casaca A, Nóvoa A, Vinagre T, Hunter ME, Duboule D, Mallo M. Role of a polymorphism in a Hox/Pax-responsive enhancer in the evolution of the vertebrate spine. (2013) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 110: 10682-10686. pdf
- Woltering JM. From lizard to snake; behind the evolution of an extreme body plan. (2012) Current Genomics. 13:289-299. pdf
- Woltering JM, Duboule D. The origin of digits: expression patterns versus regulatory mechanisms. (2010) Dev Cell. 18:526-32. pdf
- Weiss FU*, Marques IJ*, Woltering JM, Vlecken DH, Aghdassi A, Partecke LI, Heidecke CD, Lerch MM, Bagowski CP. Retinoic acid receptor antagonists inhibit miR- 10a expression and block metastatic behavior of pancreatic cancer. (2009) Gastroenterology. 137:2136-2145. pdf
- Woltering JM, Vonk FJ, Müller H, Bardine N, Tuduce IL, de Bakker MA, Knöchel W, Sirbu IO, Durston AJ, Richardson MK. Axial patterning in snakes and caecilians: evidence for an alternative interpretation of the Hox code. (2009) Dev Biol. 332:82-89. pdf
- Woltering JM, Duboule D. Conserved elements within open reading frames of mammalian Hox genes. (2009) J Biol. 8: 17. pdf
- Woltering JM, Durston AJ. MiR-10 represses HoxB1a and HoxB3a in zebrafish. (2008) PLoS One. 2;3(1):e1396. pdf
- Zhang Y, Woltering JM, Verbeek FJ. Screen of MicroRNA Targets in Zebrafish Using Heterogeneous Data Sources: A Case Study for Dre-miR-10 and Dre- miR-196. (2007) PWASET, 26: 258-265. pdf
- Mainguy G, Koster J, Woltering J, Jansen H, Durston A. Extensive polycistronism and antisense transcription in the mammalian Hox clusters. (2007) PLoS One. 2: e356. pdf
- Woltering JM, Durston AJ. The zebrafish hoxDb cluster has been reduced to a single microRNA. (2006) Nat Genet. 38: 601-602. pdf
- Morgan MJ, Woltering JM, In der Rieden PM, Durston AJ, Thiery JP. YY1 regulates the neural crest-associated slug gene in Xenopus laevis. (2004) J Biol Chem. 279: 46826-46834 . pdf
- In der Rieden PM*, Mainguy G*, Woltering JM, Durston AJ. Homeodomain to hexapeptide or PBC-interaction-domain distance: size apparently matters. (2004) Trends Genet. 20: 76-79. pdf
- Mainguy G*, In der Rieden PM*, Berezikov E, Woltering JM, Plasterk RH, Durston AJ. (2003) A position-dependent organisation of retinoid response elements is conserved in the vertebrate Hox clusters. Trends Genet. 19: 476-479. pdf